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October 26, 2001

Eyes for Soft-Plastic Baits

Add life (and a rattle) to your plastic baits.

Soft-plastic baits have become the artificial lure of choice for knowledgeable flats fishermen looking to catch shallow-water redfish and seatrout. When rigged on an offset worm hook, these lifelike baits can be fished in only inches of water without becoming entangled in grass.
Inserting a glass tube with chrome beads (available in catalogs and large tackle shops) causes a neutrally buoyant, soft-plastic bait to sink slowly, rattle when twitched and look far more realistic by appearing to have eyes. The altered bait can be fished below the top few inches of the water column and, in addition to taking redfish and seatrout after they move off the flats, works well in open water for juvenile tarpon or around structure for snook.
To add glass eyes, push a small copper tube (about 1/16-inch diameter) through the bait at the point where the eyes are to be located. The tube works like a cookie cutter, removing a round plug from the bait. Wedge the glass tube into the hole, then rig the soft-plastic bait as you normally would.
Larry E. Kinder
Daytona Beach, Florida